Original Draft – Why Can’t Men Learn To Read Women’s Minds?

One of the (few) decidedly advantageous merits of being a married, 28-year-old bar waitress with a college degree is that it brings me in contact with interesting people who – let’s face it – would otherwise fall well outside my social sphere.

From the “regular” middle-aged men who always sit on the same bar stool and literally piss away lonely hours via Jim, Jack or Crown, to the slurring, unsteady newbie drinkers with shiny ID cards who haven’t yet learned their limits, this place caters to the gamut. That’s why, after acquiring 9 years of “real world” experience since the first time I served a pineapple upside down cake martini, I consider myself fortunate to observe this veritable variety pack of human nature from the faceless, unassuming, lower caste position of she-who-brings-them-their-nectar-of-courage and therefore would never dream of judging them.

Right.

The bar employs an exceptionally popular young bartender I like to call, Rake.* Picture, if you will, a 23-year-old kid with the confidence and charm of a Wall Street banker combined with the interest and curiosity of a world-traveling nomad.

Although I find myself inexplicably immune to his particular brand of charisma (probably because he wisely never pointed it in my direction), it seems that women of all ages – some young, but most of them older – are simply elated when they find themselves attached to Rake’s arm for an evening. And, he’s adorable to boot. If Kurt Cobain’s ghost had a love child with Justin Bieber, the irresistible little nymph would undoubtedly look like Rake.

*According to “The Art of Seduction,” by Robert Green:

The Rake is a great female fantasy figure – when he desires a woman, brief though that moment may be, he will go to the ends of the earth for her. He may be disloyal, dishonest, and amoral, but that only adds to his appeal. Unlike the normal, cautious male, the Rake is delightfully unrestrained, a slave to his love of women. There is the added lure of his reputation: so many women have succumbed to him, there has to be a reason. Words are a woman’s weakness, and the Rake is a master of seductive language.

Over the months I’ve actually become used to Rake escorting different women into the bar on his off nights, going through the false-smile introductions and pretending to give a damn about their names, knowing the poor girl whose limp noodle hand I was shaking would likely be sitting by her phone all day tomorrow, waiting for a text that would never leave Rake’s fingertips.

Then one night Rake arrived unaccompanied, complaining about a girl he’d convinced to show up at his house the previous night post-midnight, but she “wouldn’t let him do anything.” With the innocent genuineness of a nun at confession, he lamented, “I seriously felt like I was misled.”

What?

Of course, as a woman, my immediate reaction was to get defensive.

Me: WHY would you automatically assume you’d be getting laid just because she showed up at your house?

Rake: Because it was after midnight. Women don’t leave the comfort of their own homes to show up at a guy’s house after midnight if they’re not looking for sex.

Me: That’s not necessarily true! Maybe she wasn’t sleepy. Maybe she just wanted some companionship. Maybe she just wanted to… I don’t know… cuddle. (This last word was accompanied by the sickening feeling that I was already losing this argument.)

Rake: AND when I talked to her on the phone, she said, “I’m definitely not having sex with you tonight.”

Me: ?

Rake: Which definitely means she wanted to have sex with me that night!

He was sincerely flabbergasted.

Me: Are you seriously saying that even though she flat-out told you she did not want to hook up, you still had her come over with the assumption that she was coming to hook up?

Rake: Katie, think about it. I know it’s been a while, but back when you were single, didn’t you ever tell a guy in a flirty way that you weren’t going to have sex with him with the full intention of having sex with him as long as he tried hard enough?

Me: Silence.

Rake: So then, if he did everything he was supposed to – complimented your smile, bought you a drink, continued to show interest in your career and your family even though you told him he wouldn’t be getting any – you could have no-strings-attached sex with him without feeling like a slut.

Me: Silence.

I didn’t know what to say.

I had done that before. Did Rake seriously know women better than I knew women? I mean, I’m the one with the nice rack and vanity full of feminine products, yet he was bringing to light some of the deepest workings my mostly over-analytical, often far too judgmental, and obviously more devious than even I’d realized female mind.

Wracking my brain for possible reasons that girl might have shown up at Rake’s house after midnight, I can come up with any number of reasons she might have felt inclined to go:

Maybe she was going through a period of low self esteem and needed a boost.

Maybe she really did just think of him as a friend and wanted to talk.

Maybe she forgot to wash her dirty sex sheets from the night before and was hoping to crash on his couch.

Who knows?

But Rake made me realize that, justified as her reasons may have been, it was actually understandable why he had certain sexpectations about the evening. Let’s face it, ladies. Most of us are guilty of sending mixed messages, and many of us are guilty of expecting men to be able to read our minds. Sometimes we want to play games, and other times we really do just want a shoulder to cry on. Either way, it’s difficult to convey a message when we so often say one thing and mean another.

Now. That said, I would never condone a man forcing sex just because he expects it. No still means no, and all decent guys – even the rakes of the world – understand that. But did Rake have a right to feel disappointed?

I’m starting to think that maybe he did.

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